A Dangerous Method – A Freudian Glimpse Of His Personal World
Superb! Provocative! Sexually Charged!
Canadian Director David Cronenberg, best known as the King of Venereal Horror, has enjoyed a long career in the spotlight as a controversial director and ‘mass media guru’. Cronenberg found international celebrity with his remake of Stephen King’s ‘the Dead Zone’ and ‘The Fly’. ‘Dead Ringers’ and ‘Naked Lunch’ brought Cronenberg international critical acclaim. He has had a number of films at Cannes and Berlin including ‘A History of Violence’.
“A Dangerous Method” is a real departure from Cronenberg’s other movies, having the cinematic feel of a Merchant Ivory production. Cronenberg says this was a deliberate decision to create the feeling of the era. He presents a captivating and visually exquisite exploration of the more human contradictions and idiosyncrasies of our psyche. The biopic is based on the remarkable personal letters between Freud (Viggo Mortensen), Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Jung’s patient and lover Sabrina Spielrein (Kiera Knightly), letters written and sent it seems with the rapidity and frequency of email today.
Viggo Mortensen portrays Freud to perfection although Cronenberg deliberately chose not to have the handsome Mortensen made up to look more like Freud. Mortensen’s Freud is a distinguished, magnetic character who holds the screen completely.
Michael Fassbender captures the complex character of Jung with superb understatement. Jung’s character develops from a very timid, insecure but creative psychologist to the internationally recognized expert. We discover that his existence and prowess is totally dependent upon the physical, sexual and psychological support of his beautiful, wealthy wife, his deep friendship with Freud and Sabrina, his complicated, sexually powerful patient and lover. Cronenberg portrays Sabrina as Jung’s equal, if not more, in matters of psychoanalysis. Otto (Vincent Cassel), a patient sent to Jung by Freud, also becomes a catalyst in changing the course of Jung’s personal and professional journey.
The letters between Freud, Jung, Jung’s wife and Jung’s lover Sabrina Spielrein’s are key to the story. At the Venice Film Festival Mortnensen lamented, “There is so much in the letters. It would be wonderful if the Jung family would release the balance of the letter that passed between them”. Cronenberg’s speculations about the great men and the women in their lives provides for a provocative and yes, dangerous cinematic ride.